Portrait from the August Giveaway

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I haven’t been drawing much lately, which is pretty apparent looking at the site’s front page. It’s kind of an odd coincidence, but right around the one year anniversary of getting back into this website, my inspiration to draw started fading. I’m really not sure why…did I burn myself out? Do I need a new challenge, like trying a new medium? Whatever the reason, that spark to put pencil to paper has faded from when I was churning out several sketches a month. I’ve been wondering if the big issue is that I’m simply out of ideas. Thinking of subjects is usually a challenge for me anyway, so any small drop in interest is probably compounded by that.

Another thought is that this past year was just a random frenzy of creative energy, and now maybe it has fizzled out. I certainly hope that’s not true, but to play devil’s advocate, I have to remember I did go over 10 years without drawing prior to starting again last fall. I’m going to make an effort to not let something that happen though! Even if I only casually draw once a month or something, I think it’s a good to keep at it to some extent.

Anyway, going back to the theory that I’m just out of ideas…fortunately, I still had one fresh portrait subject waiting. And that subject is the winner of the most recent giveaway! Our contest winner provided me some reference material for his request, and I got to it. I was surprised to realize it, but it’s actually been two months now since I’ve drawn anything. It sort of snuck up on me, and I felt a bit rusty as I started on this. Here’s how the final portrait ended up:


So, as I mentioned, I realized as the drawing progressed that I was pretty rusty already. I was surprised and a bit disappointed that my confidence working with color had atrophied so quickly. The basic graphic outline was good, but once I started adding basic skin tones and shadows, I thought, “oh no, how do I usually do this again?” Luckily, I had written a couple how-to/process posts months ago. I actually had to go back to refresh my memory…I had an idea, but didn’t want to get too wild experimenting.

Once I got past the initial facial shadows, and started filling in hair and other details, I started feeling much better about it. Some confidence came back, and I realized this portrait was probably going to work out. The final result isn’t perfect, but it does seem to be a fairly accurate representation. I emailed a preview to the winner, hopefully he’s happy with how it turned out. As I am so fond of doing, I’ve included a progression .gif below to show how it came together:

Amdall Giveaway Winner 2 progression

Well…what’s next for Amdall Gallery? Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s almost like my drawing hobby is entering winter, and I want to keep some art trickling or else my pipes might freeze. I had a thought the other day that it might be fun to do some extremely close up face sketches, so that might be something I can do soon. And maybe I’ll stumble on a data analysis project on some interesting topic. As always, if any readers have suggestions or requests for artwork or analysis, I’m certainly open to them!



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  • I’ve been wondering where you are … and I sympathize. Creative drive is a tricky thing – mine goes up and down (down-down-down) all the time. I think it’s a good idea to put aside time to draw, even if just to keep your hand in. Nice portraits.

    • Thank you, I appreciate that. It is pretty difficult for me to understand sometimes. Like I’ll think to myself, “Man, just get comfortable, turn on some music and draw. No big deal.” I know I can replicate the setup and situation, but for whatever reason my brain doesn’t say let’s go.

      How do you push through that? Any pro tips?

      • I just keep working – even if it’s only to rework something I did before. I get what you mean about not managing to get into a zone – when I’m in a slump I’m pretty unconnected with the pen or pencil in my hand (it feels like I’m agitated) and I’m not working with much thought, observation or detail. But I still try to see what comes out (hence the Dead Man Standing post). Oh, and if I had one tip to give, I’d say look at other people’s work – I go to my public library – to the art section (where I’m always the only one) – and get out books with lots of colour plates. The quality, spirit, imagination and innovation of artists throughout history is mind-boggling and kind of gets me going.

      • I like that, pushing forward to try to see what comes out. With that Dead Man Standing post, even if it wasn’t what you expected, it still turned into a really interesting piece. That’s a good advertisement for diving in and doing something, even if that person doesn’t feel like it. The results can be something worth having done!

        Also that’s a good tip about checking out other people’s work to get a spark. I’ve really been meaning to catch up on my followed WP sites, and it could be refreshing to browse artwork. I think I’m up to date on yours and a few others, but I’m way behind on most

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